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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  January 4, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EST

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>> but that's about method and to personally attack the president of the united states, it looks like he's rooting against obama, rooting against the sitting president who is commander in chief. we have top understand that the vice president of the united states told a big fat lie. he's not telling the truth. he's emboldening the terrorist. i know that's a serious charge
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but look at what he's doing. he's saying that our president is weak, letting down our guard. a talk show host, fine, say anything you want. >> former vice president you don't say that. that emboldens terrorist. >> what's the proper move to hand they will if you're in the white house? what do you do to fight this sfwhak. >> i think the proper move is to absolutely call dick cheney on every lie. barack obama has done more in pakistan, stepping up the fight in yemen, since then doubled the support for yemen and trying to get rid of the unnecessary aggravation by closing down gitmo. the president is being irresponsible. >> gentlemen, good to have your take on this tonight. appreciate your time again. i've asked the audience, do you think the white house should fight back harder?
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that's "the ed show." chris matthews starts right now. cheney the meanie. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, the patriot game. how long and how low can it go. first, dick cheney accused president of obama of pretending we're not at war. now jim demint said there's no question the president has downplayed the terrorists since taking office. the president's top counterterrorism adviser made it clear on "meet the press" this sunday that cheney is either ignorant or lying. you have to wonder whom cheney thinks is the real enemy here, al qaeda or his own president.
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why is every disagreement over policy these days open up a charm of not wanting to defend the country. tell us that, mr. cheney. it turns out that seven cia officers killed in afghanistan were not the victims of a rogue terrorist, but of a cunning al qaeda double agent. this is what we're up against these days. smart people. bad people against us. our own richard engel tonight on the cloak and dagger story that turned so deadly for us. and for our intelligence people. plus, it's 2010. and "hardball's" going to be the place for politics this year. get in on the latest midterm elections which will be concluding this november.
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tonight we're going to take a first look at where things stand right now at the beginning of the year. the big question, could the republicans take back the house of representatives. could they knock off speaker of the house nancy pelosi. it looks fairly likely that they could. also, everyone is entitle to a vacation. but let's look at the optics. that's the new word this year already, of a president vacationing in hawaii. in the wake of the failed christmas plane bombing. to use a baseball term, was the president almost picked off at first. finally, in case you missed it, rush limbaugh managed to turn his trip to the hospital last week into an attack on president obama and the democrats.
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i'm sincerely happy rush is okay, but does the man have to even turn an emergency hospital visit into a political event? let's talk with cheney and his chiding. let's bring in the "washington post" eugene robinson, and the man from msnbc, tough day for the eagles yesterday. another week to go and another tough one down there. dick cheney's new hobby, seems to be crawling out from out of the shadows on a routine basis. i wonder whether he and his wife have some sort of guesttetner printing machine down there. and attacking president obama. here he was the other day attacking president obama's decision about the president's leadership. cheney said that "the president -- "president obama is trying to pretend we're not at war." here's brennan yesterday reacting to cheney sunday. by the way, john brennan also worked with cheney. let's listen. >> i'm very disappointed in the vice president's comments. i'm neither republican nor democrat. i've worked for the past five
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administrations. either the vice president is willfully mischaracterizing this president's position, both in terms of language he uses and the actions he's taken, or he's ignorant of the facts. in neither case it doesn't speak well of what the vice president's doing. i would not have come back into this government if i felt this president was not committed to prosecuting this war against al qaeda. and every day i see it in the president's face. i see it in the actions he's taken. i'm confident that this country is in fact protected by this president's position on al qaeda and against terrorist activities. we're going to continue to do this. we're going to do it hard. we're going to do it constantly. >> i can't think of a better blocking back than this guy. he came out strong and i think he's made a good nonpartisan case against cheney's yapping. >> he did. i just thought cheney's statement to politico last week was way off the reservation, included criticism of president obama for handling the case of the attempted underwear bomber in federal court. exactly the same way that cheney and bush handled the case of the shoe bomber in federal court.
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he's now in a federal prison. so the criticism itself didn't make any sense, except as just kind of an -- a crazy attack. >> you know, michael, the same point can be made that the president, president bush at the time, took six days to respond to that shoe bomber. and nobody was keeping a clock on him. this time cheney came out six days later. but two days after the president had already spoken, attacking him for not having spoken sooner when he spoke two days before cheney did, which was about the time cheney was keeping time with the way bush used to do it six days late. how come they keep coming up with different score cards, cheney, for republicans and democrats by their own scorecard they get zeroes? >> your reference is president bush's name, i think it makes a significant point. look at the dichotomy between bush's silence and cheney's constant carping against this administration. chris, i reached out for h.w. brands, the historian, because i wanted to know who is more in line with their predecessors. and the answer is president bush president bush by his silence. the exception being if a vice president holds a desire to run for the highest office, i don't
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get that from dick cheney. so here's the question i ask. what is his motivation. is his motivation to right the ship as he sees it. i don't think so. or is it just to tear down the commander in chief. and my big objection is not so much the substance as it is the timing. how about the fact that here was president obama, after he was reviewing the situation for afghanistan, according to dick cheney that was ditherring. but when he's finally ready to go to west point and make known a war plan, the vice president gives 90 minutes to politico to cut out his knees from under him. i thought that was appalling and offensive. if the roles had been reversed, you can imagine the human cry from the gop. >> you would think that a guy who would run an operation where his chief of staff was hit for five felony counts and convictions that he wouldn't be talking so much. here's president obama, by the way, december 28th, just two days after -- two days before cheney's attack, actually getting well ahead of him. here's the president. >> a full investigation has been launched into this attempted act of terrorism.
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and we will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable. we do not yet have all the answers about this latest attempt. but those who would slaughter innocent men, women and children must know that the united states will do more than simply strengthen our defenses. we will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they're from afghanistan or pakistan, yemen, or somalia. or anywhere, where they are plotting attacks against the u.s. homeland. >> john brennan, a civil servant the other day, risked his life over in saudi arabia, michael. coming out and saying the president he works with every
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day shows tremendous zeal in trying to track down the enemy and fight the al qaeda we're fighting. he said so many times. what gets to me is dick cheney has attacked the president for wanting to try this guy in court and letting him have a lawyer. when that's exactly what the bush administration did with the shoe bomber. they allowed him to lawyer up, if you will. and now they're attacking obama for doing the identical thing. >> i think that the complaint that cheney raised in that incident, former vice president cheney, because i do respect the man. again, the timing of it, not only was it unfounded based on the facts, but what was the purpose in him almost beating the president of the united states to the punch in addressing this subject. chris, it was to malign the president and make sure that the ship can't be righted, if it is out of alignment. that's what i object to the most. at what point are we no longer republicans and democrats, liberals and conservatives, but instead, americans under siege in this country. >> here's another theory. that this is not rational. that this is not thought out. that in -- >> do you think it is a troll? >> no, in fact, frankly, the
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paranoia that some people sense in dick cheney, in the sense that under every rug and under every bed and around every corner is a potential terrorist holocaust, that this is internal allized, that this is real, and that he's not seeing the situation as clearly as possible. that's one theory. >> here he was last week. this is -- well, this is dick cheney. he's amazing. "it seems president obama thinks if he gives terrorists the rights of americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their miranda rights, we won't be at war. he seems to think if we bring
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the mastermind of september 11th to new york, give them a trial, and a lawyer, in civilian court, we won't be at war. he seems to think if he closes gaughan mo and releases the hard-core terrorists there --" here again, he's caught completely flat footed. michael, it was the past administration that released the two guys to yemen, that were the controls for this guy, on the plane from nigeria. they have no sense of guilt or shame when they're the ones caught here. it wasn't this president that released al qaeda to -- that caused this damage to us, almost damage. but here's jim demint who almost seems to synchronize swim from the vice president -- clearly he's just using the guy's words. here he is on cnn on sunday. this is jim demint of south carolina. >> if we had traded the christmas day bomber as a terrorist, he would have immediately been interrogated military style, rather than given the rights of an american and lawyers. we probably lost valuable information. it does come down to a decision of whether or not this is an act of war, an act of terror, or just a criminal act. so there's some real implications of the direction
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that's being taken now. i agree with senator mccaskill, we need to take the politics out of this. but there's no question that the president has downplayed the risks of terror since he took office. >> what do you make of that? >> well, i just think objectively it's not true, number one. number two, i think you could have a civilized discussion about whether abdulmutallab should have been treated and dealt with in a military tribunal or not. >> i think he should have gotten a military tribunal myself. >> our editorial page looked to that and came to the conclusion this was the right way to handle it. as a matter of fact, he's already giving up his handlers, given up the whole operation, already talking. that there was no reason to send him to military tribunal route. but the point is, of course, that's not the kind of civilized discussion that's being had. with reference to what's been done in the past, with reference to the merits of the case. it's just kind of yop at this administration. >> michael, the point seems to be, they'll use these tactical arguments whether we go to a
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military court or civilian court, to make the point that the president united states doesn't care about defending us, who doesn't believe we're under threat from al qaeda. and they say he never says the word terror. here he is at his inauguration, beginning his add m. let's listen to president obama about a year ago. >> we will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waiver in its defense. and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. you cannot outlast us. and we will defeat you. >> michael, that's a pretty good cree de gar. >> not only was that offering, i think right on point, but so, too, was the president's inaugural radio address for 2010. and he said all the right things. at least in my view on saturday in the radio address. and chris, how about the speech he offered at west point when there was deafening silence from
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the right. and please don't think that i'm buying into always in which the obama administration is fighting what i still regard as a war against terrorists. but i think that this criticism is not only unfounded, but ill-timed. my bigger criticism is that it's ill-timed and seeks to undercut the commander in chief. >> and i think that this president knows that it's a war against al qaeda, in particular not against a tactic of war-like terrorism. against a group of people trying to kill us. by the way, as you pointed out to your credit for eight or nine years now, they haven't caught bin laden. he is the leader of al qaeda. they haven't caught omar -- what's his name -- mullah omar. so to brag about these guys aren't measuring up to their asked is insane. thank you. it's also shameless. thank you, gene robinson, the troll is out.
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and michael. a double agent who killed the cia officers in afghanistan a few days ago. what a terrible case. real american heroes over there, blown to bits by a suicide bomber who was a double agent. ♪ walgreens invites you to stay well this new year. ♪ with the centers for disease control and prevention saying... that vaccination is still your best protection, walgreens and take care clinics... now offer h1n1 flu vaccinations... every day at our more than 7000 locations nationwide... for just $18.00. so stop in today. walgreens. there's a way to stay well.
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welcome back to "hardball." is al qaeda getting stronger and also smarter? a double agent for the terrorist network is responsible for
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killing seven cia officers over in afghanistan a few days ago. nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel has all the details. we've all been watching the case and learning more and more. tell us, rich, what happened, how the seven american people got killed over there. >> this is a fairly long and complicated story. but i think it tells a lot about how sophisticated al qaeda has become, that they are able now to run double agents and infiltrate the cia. this story began actually in jordan. the u.s. and jordanian intelligence agencies work quite closely together. the jordanian authorities first arrested this man, a 36-year-old doctor. he was a leading member on different internet websites. that's what triggered, or what gave up -- made him suspicious to the jordanian authorities. they arrested him about a year ago, a little over a year ago and started to interrogate him in jordan. and during the interrogation,
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they thought they turned him. they thought that he had agreed to become an agent for jordanian intelligence and the cia. and that he would specifically work to target ayman zawahiri. his mission was to go to afghanistan, try and infiltrate the top leadership of al qaeda, and locate ayman zawahiri. initially, it all seemed to be going quite well. they sent him back to afghanistan. they sent him to afghanistan, sorry. he got back with contacts, some people he already knew through the internet and was something of a rising star within al qaeda. a good operative, a good agent. everyone was fairly pleased with him. then just before new year's, it became apparent this plot started to hatch. he called his agents, who didn't suspect him, because he had been passing information, he called his handlers, the cia, and said i have to come in. i have urgent information, i have to see you. they accepted him. he met with his handlers. they even brought in more senior
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people because they thought -- the cia thought this informant had such good information that it was really going to be important. so they had a meeting. when he showed up for that meeting, he blew up some sort of explosive. killed seven cia officers, and one jordanian intelligence officer, who is also a distant relative of the king of jordan. >> so what kind of setting was this? was it out in the rural area of afghanistan, these seven officers, cia americans meeting with him? >> a little outpost in eastern afghanistan, that serves as a good area, because people can move across the border from afghanistan into pakistan. so if you want to meet with agents, do some listening, do some controlling, this is a good place to do it. i haven't been to this outpost, but there are many of these
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fairly small, quite rugged outposts in eastern afghanistan. generally they're not very large. usually just a few dozen to a few hundred people. surrounded by barbed wire, and different kinds of blast protection. but they're not big, large, concrete structures. they're mostly camps in mountainous areas. >> well, as a tribute, i must ask you as an expert, what are our cia people like over there? they must be very courageous people out there, in such a distant posting. >> this particular group was considered one of the best that the cia had. some of these agents had been tracking al qaeda. this is according to an expert i spoke to today. the foremost americans had even heard of al qaeda. that is why it's such a devastating blow. not only are they american citizens, mothers and fathers, but they were also real assets to national security. they had the contacts, they had the skill, they had the background. and their loss will certainly be felt by the agency. >> wow. evil ain't stupid. the other side is getting smarter as you put it. thank you, richard engel. yemeni forces killed two
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suspected al qaeda militants today in a fire fight north of the capital. the battle comes two days after general petraeus met with the yemeni president. the united states and british embassies in yemen remain closed for the second day. and the french, german and japanese embassies also shut down for fear of a terrorist attack. bobby gosh, senior editor of time magazine. bobby, it's hard to read from here what we make of the yemeni government here. are they on our side, the other side, trying to be on our side? are they like pakistan that way but they don't really have their heart in it? how would you describe it? >> i would describe the president abdullah as a combination of president musharraf and hamid karzai. he's a man who rules with an iron fist. his forces are killing his own people. he does not tolerate religious minorities. on the other side, he has an incredibly corrupt administration.
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so in some ways, he embodies the worst of both pakistan and afghanistan's leaders. >> what do you make of our sending back people over there for rehabilitation? i mean, one of the handlers of the attacker on christmas day was apparently sent back with the theory that he had been rehabilitated through art training. >> yes, he had been sent to saudi arabia, and saudi arabia has a rehabilitation program that gets quite high marks from people from independent observers, people in this country who have taken a close look at it. there's always going to be a few people who fall through, a few people who escape, if you like, the system. it's clear some of these people are turning up. saudi arabia, keep in mind, has been cracking down on al qaeda and its own borders, and a lot of those people have been fleeing across the borders to yemen. so the situation in yemen is very perilous at this time. and the u.s. government really has been thinking and rethinking and trying to figure out what to do with these 100 yemenis they have in gitmo. it's not very inspiring that they'll be kept under yemeni control.
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>> let's think how you translate american politics to policy over there. senator lieberman is quite a hawk in that part of the world, said we should be preemptive, acted preventively. what would that mean over there? how would you prevent more trouble from coming from yemen? >> well, in some ways, the u.s. is already doing that. the u.s. has a long history, the cia has a long history of taking out al qaeda suspects in yemen. a few years ago, they killed yemenis, who they thought was the number one guy. they rolled out the number two guy and thought the problem had been dealt with. they thought the yemenese would mop up the rest. clearly that has not happened. the yemeni in recent months have increased a lot of military action against al qaeda, to a great degree because of pressure from washington. it's hard to know what can be done beyond that. keep in mind, there are two or three different civil wars fought within yemen that don't have much to do with al qaeda at the moment. so for the u.s. to get involved
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as a fourth or fifth party in a very complex mix of wars, doesn't sound like the best idea. especially given what we've seen in afghanistan, and in iraq. >> just to clear this up. going in there and trying to knock them off has nothing to do with encouraging them to attack us by air. they would have gone ahead with this attack on christmas day whether we were mother teresa or dick cheney. >> yeah. just a few days before christmas day -- >> is that right? their decision, they're coming at us, they're on their own and it's got nothing to do with our latest attack back at them? >> that's absolutely correct. they've set their sights on the united states what they think are ideological grounds and they're not going to stop. >> great having you on. take care of yourself.
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a brand-new year. 2010, an election year. i love that. what the democrats need to do to keep control of the congress. it's precarious. they could lose the 40-some seats, they could lose the house, all their advantage in the senate. and save your seat. it turns out the staffers are not so easily blown away. the chief of staff, sharon
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wheeler, put out her own press release saying that she and the entire legislative and education teams would be leaving the office rather than go with the flow when he become as republican. and speaking of rush limbaugh said after checking out of a hospital in hawaii. >> based on what happened to me here, i don't think there's one thing wrong with the american health care system. it is working just fine. just dandy. and i got nothing special. i got no special treatment other than what anybody else that would called 911 and had been brought in with the same kinds of symptoms. the care was extensive. it was personal. and it was complete. >> well, first of all, i'm very glad for rush personally. obviously that he's okay. but the issue isn't whether the u.s. has great health quality. every bad guy in the world comes here to get saved.
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the issue is cost, affordability. that's what the health care bill is about. getting for millions of people who don't have it, something like the health care that rush gets. get it? probably not. now for the big number. the democrats have a healthy majority in the house of representatives. they have to lose 40 seats this september, or this november to lose control, the republicans. what are the chances they're going to lose all 40, lose enough to lose control? the democrats would no longer be in house after the mid terms. according to the oddsmakers at intrade.com, there's a 67% chance, or 2 in 3, that the democrats will hold on to the majority. 67% chance they'll hold on to the house majority and keep the speakership. that's tonight's big number. those are the odds. up next, the high stakes of the
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2010 mid terms. we're going to preview some of the hottest races that could determine whether democrats are able to hold on to control of the u.s. congress this coming november. the election has begun. the campaign is on. we're here and we're there. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. (announcer) take your time to find the right time with cialis for daily use... a clinically proven, low-dose tablet for erectile dysfunction you take every day so you can be ready anytime the moment is right. tell your doctor about your medical condition and all medications and ask if you're healthy enough for sexual activity. don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. don't drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long term injury seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than 4 hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away.
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here is what is happening. a federal court claimed that he was denied access to evidence and restricted in choosing his own council. facing live in prison to help plan the attacks. a shootout in the federal building in las vegas has left a court officer and gunman dead. wounded in the barrage of gunfire, the gunman's identity and motives are being investigated. at least three deaths are being blamed on bitterly cold
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temperatures across much of the u.s. it's expected to last until the end of the week. in florida, farmers are scrambling again tonight in many parts of the state. a major rally and apple and intel. now back to "hardball." welcome back. we're on base. we're covering politics. welcome back to "hardball." 2010 is here. finally it's time for the midterm elections now through november. the "hardball" team here is going to be covering the whole fight. better than anybody out there. as always. democrats are defensive this year.
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they got what they want. will they keep it? republicans don't have what they want, will they get it? their rhetoric is hotter than hell right now. will they be able to chip away and grab the majority away from nancy pelosi. what's the forecast? what's it going to be like for president obama's party this week? howard fineman is the msnbc political analyst. and charlie cook is et tor and publisher of the cook political. the best guys here. this question comes to mind. charles cook, you were the most nonpartisan person i know and you are as well. you guys are really coldly, coldly, coldly, koeldly analytical, right? >> that's right. >> are you a bit more cautious about change than other people? i want to know how to put your numbers. are you more cautious? i think it's possible the democrats can lose the 40 seats and lose the majority, because i saw what happened in '93-'94 when everybody was mad at the clintons. we have the threat of terrorism, and the angst out there generally. >> my historic pattern is very, very cautious. but starting in august, we started talking up, look, this is a chance for real real losses for democrats in the senate. a little less than a month ago we started going -- right now democrats have to lose 40 seats to lose control of the house. now we're saying 20 to 30-seat loss. what we're seeing, more
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retirements in tough districts. one party switch since then. but what basically is, though, there's solidly or probably in the democratic column exactly 218 seats. the barest majority. and so republicans could win every competitive race, and still come up one seat short. but if we see more of the kind of erosion we've seen in the last five or six weeks, of democrats that had looked to be in good shape, suddenly not looking in good shape, then you could see a tipping point. so we're not at the tipping point, but we're a lot closer than we were two or three months ago. >> you think we're close to the tipping point like it did in '94, '80? one of those big change years? >> democrats can't have another
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two months like the last two months. >> i don't see any change in the economic outlook. in fact, i see reading the papers today closely some talk of a second dip. i see bad times economically between now and when people make up their mind next summer. what do you see? is there any reason not to go with what he just said? >> the economics we know. the bigger news in the last week or two is i think the president has lost control of the narrative of the fight against terrorism. and national security. >> was he hurt by being in hawaii? >> i don't think he was hurt by being in hawaii specifically. i think some of the early comments by administration officials were off the mark. and i think he got elected partly as the guy who could make us more secure by being more sophisticated in his knowledge of the world. anything that pushes him back into the bush territory on that side of the equation is not helpful to him. charlie's right about the
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economy. the other thing is, the health care legislation may end up benefiting a lot of people. but the politics of how it's been constructed and sold has not helped the administration or the democratic party. the people who are most likely to benefit, young people, hispanics, some people like that in the south and southwest are also less likely to vote in a midterm election. >> that's what i want to get to. you know, i was on a radio station yesterday, i said, vote. if you don't vote, the other people do. a lot of times the other people are people who don't agree with you. you're doubling the vote of the other guy. the guy who disagrees with you. >> all of the intensity the democrats had in '06 and '08 and how lethargic republicans were in those two elections has flipped. republicans have the intensity and democrats are disillusioned. >> what's intensifying the republicans? is it the tea party anger of taxes and health care? is it something about barack
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obama personally? is it all that? >> it's all of that. the thing is, the strongest factor in american politics is hate. love is good. hate's better. >> i love this. because i completely believe it. in other words, i heard this in high school. that americans vote negatively. they vote against what they fear, what they don't like. this could be bad for a lot of people. >> in '06 and '08 they hated president bush, the republican majority. now the hate is going the other way. >> this wouldn't work on npr. >> fear not hate. >> he said hate -- >> i know. >> don't correct him. stick with hate. >> here is the irony. the biggest problem democrats have is the economy. the criticism that republicans had of the obama economic package was, it was too big. the ironic thing is, it wasn't big enough. yet they're still going to -- >> what i heard from my republican brother in pennsylvania last year, he said if you want a simple republican slogan, just say, you want it back.
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you want what you had two or three years ago in terms of your 401(k), your job security, your outlook for your kids. you want back what you had in 2006 and '07. you don't want the iraq war building up again, but you want all the good things that you remember. >> just as a general proposition keeping me from saying the tipping point was reached -- charlie and his people were out ahead of this i think -- is the republicans are not very popular at all. i know hate matters and fear matters -- the republican brand is in the dumper. it just is. >> because of the -- >> wait a minute. in 1980 and '84 it was a different republican party. it was more broadly based sociologically and ideologically. >> that's true. why do flawed candidates like mcdonough and chris christie up in new jersey, not superstars, not evil or anything, but not superstars, why did they win so handily with the republican brand name? >> in the case of new jersey -- >> why is toomey running with -- >> there are going to be cases where that's going to work. as a general proposition, in states like kentucky, in a place
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i know like louisville where that is always a swing seat, the democrats are safe there because the republicans in that part of the state are not broadly enough based. >> could this be the chance for republicans just because of conditions, how bad they are right now, to make a comeback in the governorships in the northeastern states? win back some of these states? maybe knock off patterson -- >> i think pennsylvania is a possibility. >> massachusetts, they could win? a lot of these places they could
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win the governorships. >> i think -- >> a good chance to knock off the incumbent. >> if they're problem solvers like the way they did in virginia. >> i would rather be the out party, whichever party it is -- >> if you're thinking of running as a republican moderate in the new england states, mid-atlantic states, a damn good year to run. >> if there's one saving grace for democrats, though, the republican brand is so much more damaged than democrats were in '06 when they took over, or republicans were in '94. >> what should the republicans say to the people? does it say rush limbaugh? does it say sarah palin? does it say bush? >> it says one word -- >> screwing up katrina? >> it says one word -- no. that's the republican word, no. and because barack obama has -- >> but if it's hate, maybe people want no. >> if barack obama has behaved in their eyes they were afraid a northern liberal would behave, too much big government, that's what's energized the republican base across the south. >> likely to be a big republican win? >> i would say big republican win, but they come up just short of winning the house back. >> i think charlie's probably right. i think the senate's going to be interesting. i think the republicans are going to pick up five or six seats in the senate. >> people complain about the democrats not getting enough of the 60 votes. wait you see what they get with the 53 senators if they're lucky. >> but they will be more cohesive. >> a smaller church. >> yes. >> thank you, howard, for that biblical reference. and charlie. are republicans like dick cheney once again playing politics with national security? that's a wide-open obvious question -- yes.
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welcome back to "hardball." time for the politics fix. joining me is ann, whose hot new book, "notes from the cracked ceiling: all about women in politics" and the politico's jonathan martin. we've been having time to sort of fester about dick cheney here. he has really come out as the main attack dog of the past administration, going after everything barack obama does. every time there's an opening, he jumps up and bites the guy. hits him on every motivation, incompetence. accuses him almost of lacking patriotism. is this a political strategy or emotions on his part? >> i was just going to use the
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word emotion, actually. it seems like he became the emotional core of the critics of obama at this point. it's it's not really he -- during the bush administration i don't think we'd have used the word "emotion" to describe him. >> he was in an undisclosed location. >> he was always sort of the rational, calm person talking about terrorism. now whenever it seems there is a terrorist moment, you know, a moment that's of national security, we hear cheney being the one to articulate sort of the darkest fears of the obama critics. certainly wasted no time in this most recent case doing that. >> you know, if your chief of staff had five felony count convictions during your past service in government you'd think you would be a little quiet these days. the man goes without shame. >> i think you're referring to his deferring vietnam. >> i'm referring to his five felony counts for his chief of staff. it wasn't exactly a clean operation. go ahead. >> look, you know, i'm not sure it's great politics for the gop to have the voice of their national security wing coming
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from the former vice president. >> are they sort of not hoping for a -- if a disaster comes -- >> you think boehner and mcconnell's office is going to call the former vice president and say, pipe down? it's not going to happen. he's going to say what he wants to say and carry that message. he feels strongly about it. he has the right to do it. but the gop infrastructure i'm saying -- >> does he have a thing with politico, like a hot line where he gets up in the morning and he and lynne start punching at the across the street to you? he had his stuff to you at what, 6:30 in the morning? >> we report news from all sides. >> no but he uses you like he'd use "drudge" or somebody. why does he go to you guys? >> you'd have to ask the vice president, chris. i'm not sure. >> i mean, he's got his own news outlet. >> we report on both sides. >> it's not reporting. you feature this stuff. i do like politico.
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he's feeding you guys this crap. >> let me jump in. i think there's no, there is no question that whether it were politico or elsewhere he is going to make this known. >> what, he calls and says i got a hot one for you, john, what's your e-mail address? is that what he does? >> i couldn't tell you. >> it's not like he has a big staff anymore. he has to get up in the morning, read the paper, this feverish typing -- let me know when we have this ready. i'd love to show what the vice president had to say because it's just -- your thoughts. here is the vice president of the united states putting thought statement here in the morning. he puts this out, you know, we don't have it yet. but i tell you, it's very -- most vice presidents when they retire go away. >> one of the things he said in this statement you're going to put up is that the president, president obama is afraid to talk about it as a war on terror. >> he did. he's done that consistently. >> it's actually pretty easy to go back and refute that. >> sure. >> because you can look at
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things the president has said. >> it will be interesting during the mid terms is for example mark kirk running for senate of illinois, a blue state, someone who has to get a lot of moderate voters, is he going to have dick cheney there? i'm not sure. but look at texas. a primary down there, really hot primary between kay bailey hutchison and governor perry. >> this problem of politicizing terrorism is scary. what it does is create a terrible situation where when something goes wrong, then one party gains politically and the other loses politically. you set up a situation, even if there were no motives here. you see what i'm saying? in other words if we get hit or struck or attempted again there will be a political calculation made immediately as to which party was benefiting and which was exploiting it because of the way cheney has politicized this thing now. >> i think that was probably
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bound to happen regardless. >> here's what he said. >> okay. >> this is after -- we'll be right back. here's president obama he's trying to pretend we're not at war. what does that mean? that's cheney. >> he's trying to make an argument that this president is not on the same foot the past administration was. they aren't taking the threat against america as seriously i think is what he is trying to convey. >> let's talk about this election coming up. it's taking shape right now and either will be about terrorism or the unemployment rate. neither help this president.
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